A 5-year-old boy who survived the devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma was mauled to death on Sunday by a family friend's dog, after his parents sent him out of state while they helped in the recovery effort.
The boy's name was not released by authorities, who told Arkansas' news station KARK-TV that it's not yet clear if the dog's owner will face charges.
"The child was putting on some shoes and was crying and upset," Garland County Deputy Scott Hinojosa told the station. "The dog possibly took that as being aggressive and at that time the child was attacked."
The dog's owner, 50-year-old Lynn Geiling, reportedly tried to pull the animal off her friends' son but was too late. The child was pronounced dead upon arrival at Mercy Hospital in Hot Springs, AR.
The boy was staying at the home with his 2-year-old sister after their home in Moore, Oklahoma was destroyed by the devastating EF5 tornado that swept through the city last month and left 24 people dead, including nine children.
The dog, a Bullmastiff, reportedly fled after being pulled off the child. NBC News noted that local animal control authorities later received a call from a neighbor who shot and killed the animal.
While it's rare that a Bullmastiff would attack even a visitor in its home, the animals are fiercely protective of anyone they perceive to be above them in their pack. Owners of Bullmastiffs are advised by Vet Street to avoid leaving children, especially toddlers, around the creatures unsupervised, as they can tend to be aggressive when trying to establish a sense of pack dominance with unfamiliar people.
["Stock Photo: Little Puppy Bullmastiff Played In The House. Gnaws A Wooden Stick" on Shutterstock.]